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What is the Purpose of a Palatal Expander?

The upper jaw widens during orthodontic treatment as teeth shift into a new position. However, some patients have such a narrow upper jaw that they must usepalatal expanders in Fort Myers, FL. Dr. John Richards will determine whether a palatal expander is necessary during your first orthodontic consultation.

Reasons for Using a Palatal Expander

Dr. Richards commonly recommends palatal expanders for patients with one or more of the concerns listed below.

  • Crooked teeth
  • Crowded teeth
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Impacted teeth
  • Misaligned bite due to an overbite, underbite, crossbite, or open bite
  • Overlapping teeth

Patients wear a palatal expander for a few weeks to one year, depending on their age and the severity of their orthodontic issues. This device typically works best for teens and preteens whose jaw has not completely developed yet, but it may also be appropriate for adults in certain situations.

How a Palatal Expander Works

The roof of your mouth contains two halves connected by a suture. When you wear a palatal expander, it applies gentle yet consistent force to the two halves of the roof of your mouth. As the two halves spread further apart, the suture moves and takes on a new shape. The pressure and movement of your upper jaw cause new bones to regenerate in the spaces left behind.

You may experience minor discomfort for a few days after installing a palatal expander. Minor discomfort for a few days is also possible after Dr. Richardson turns the key attached to the expander each month to adjust it. Taking over-the-counter pain medications is usually adequate to relieve any discomfort.

If you are considering orthodontic work for yourself or your child and wonder ifpalatal expanders in Cape Coral, FL, will be necessary, we encourage you to schedule an initial consultation to learn more.

The Benefits of Wearing a Palatal Expander

Dr. John Richards may recommend that you or your child wear a palatal expander in Fort Meyers, FL, or Cape Coral, FL, for a variety of reasons related to widening the upper jaw. Although the treatment is more common in children because the two halves of their palate don’t fuse until around age 12, adults can benefit from a palatal expander as well. Dr. Roberts may recommend wearing the device anywhere from a few weeks to one year, depending on the severity of your orthodontic issues.

Typical Reasons to Wear a Palatal Expander

If you have a crossbite, it means that your upper and lower jaws don’t align properly. The palatal expander widens your upper jaw to enable it to line up better with the lower jaw. Proper jaw alignment is important to ensure that you can properly care for your teeth. Aligning the two jaws also gives you a more symmetrical smile.

Impacted Teeth

If a tooth is trying to break through the gums and it doesn’t have enough room to do so, it becomes impacted and can cause you significant discomfort. Widening your upper jaw allows the tooth to come in naturally without any further treatments.

Overcrowded Teeth

Dr. Richards often recommends a palatal expander while a patient is wearing braces for orthodontic treatment. Expanding your jaw helps your upper teeth move easier and can reduce the time you need to wear braces or clear aligners.

Ready to Learn More About Palatal Expanders?

Palatal expanders in Fort Meyers, FL, or Cape Coral, FL, can make a big difference to your oral health, especially when used in conjunction with orthodontia. We invite you to schedule an appointment at the Richards & Associates Orthodontics dental practice nearest you to learn more about this highly effective device.